Linda Bowden on How do I Lead

WINGS How do I Lead? Leadership Advice from Linda Bowden, NJ Regional President, PNC Bank

WINGS is proud to bring you this blog and video as part of its “How do I lead?” series that is offered to WINGS mentees.


When was the last time someone recommended that you “give yourself grace” or some similar counsel? Who offered that suggestion? What difference did it make?
Linda Bowden is Regional President at PNC, a veteran executive in the still-male-dominated banking industry, and, surprisingly she offers those words to WINGS mentees.
Linda might sound more like a close friend or family member, or teacher or social worker (both of which she has been), than a senior banker offering professional advice. Grace, after all, is an unearned gift.
To clarify, Linda does believe that young professional women have to work hard–harder, in fact–gain knowledge, and gain confidence. That’s what she did. But these habits and goals should not be pursued at the expense of self-care and doses of joy. A one-dimensional life can lead to stress and burnout, the opposite of sustainable success. So ensure grace for you.
Linda also recommends that women who aspire to lead learn to be sought-after colleagues. Listen with empathy, keep in confidence what others share in confidence, and invite their ideas. Lead with a strong sense of values.
Finally, Linda points out that future leaders must become adept at public speaking. Develop a rich vocabulary and learn to think on your feet. Given how important this one skill can be for leaders, find or make opportunities to practice public speaking.
These are not the run-of-the-mill advice that you might hear from a successful senior executive. Linda is an uncommon leader. We can all learn from her even if we cannot all be her mentees!

In an empowering interview by Bob Eng, Chairman – Board of Directors, WINGS for Growth, Linda Bowden shares her advice to all young women wanting to ascending in their careers!  WINGS is happy to share this empowering and insightful video with you.

Mentors are career parents

Mentors – The Experience and the Outcome

Hello, welcome to the final post of a three part series to bring you the voices of the millennial women of today! I will be sharing their perspectives on opportunities in the workplace, life lessons that I’m sure will resonate with several of you and their take on mentoring. This series was driven by the curiosity of thoughts I have shared below.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

In the game of life, we don’t have time to stop we have to keep pushing ourselves to improve. Growing in life does not come from complacency it comes from consistency and persistence. While young women in all fields have been known to push themselves, there happens to be the question, are they succeeding nearly as much as they could be? Are there acquirable tools to aid in the advancement of their careers?

In other words, is there something that these young women may be missing, such as opportunities or connections, that could boost their careers? I, Anita Chitnis, had the privilege of interviewing young millennial women from California to New York on behalf of WINGS for Growth. These women truly enrich as women who reside in different fields, different backgrounds, and different mindsets.

To protect our participants’ privacy, we have chosen to share only their last initial. We thank them deeply for sharing their voices with WINGS and hope other young women out there find this inspiring. These young women from completely different professions, performing arts, nursing and public health industries, had somewhat similar messages.


For this portion of the series, I, on behalf of wings, decided to explore the idea of a mentor. A great way to find opportunities is having a mentor. What really is a mentor? Oxford Dictionary defines it as “an experienced and trusted advisor”. A great majority may assume that a mentor can only be a professional in a specific industry who helps you get to the next step. While having a professional mentor is very important in order to make connections and often “get your foot in the door” a mentor can be more than just one to push your career.

Mentors are career parents

Mentors are very important in navigating the pathway of choices and decisions rightfully

What is a mentor to you? Why is having a mentor important?

“A mentor can be any number of things. For some it may be someone who provides structure in your life and helps you gain access to other connections in the industry while for others it may simply be who shows you etiquette on how to speak, present yourself, how to push yourself etc. Having a mentor is important because they can help you grow as a person and find new job opportunities or at least pass you on to someone else who can definitely help you” – Megha V., Philly

How has having a mentor benefited you in your career?

“Having a mentor, along with a very open environment in the workplace provided structure and support that enabled me to grow as a person. I learned so much about opening up, asking questions and not losing my voice in a traditionally male dominated field because of this.” Veronica K., Camden

“I was very privileged to be in a setting like Rutgers where traditional aspects of my life didn’t hinder my progress but professors along with my peers became mentors in different capacities and helped mold me into a more confident person who takes risks.” – Susie L, East Brunswick

What is another aspect you would hope that more women have or do, to further their professional life?

“Having a very strong role model really helped me to be able to push for what I want. My mother became a surgeon and had to fight really hard to have a seat at the table in a male dominated field. That definitely has pushed me to pursue anything I want in my own life.” – Seton K., Morristown

“Finding empowered women, especially in today’s age with media outlets, has made it easier to believe I can be who I want to be. We can see, on social media, that women are slowly dominating every field and being able to relate a bit more to certain careers can push more women into following their passions.” – Megha V., Philly.

We hope you enjoyed the third of the micro blog series and continue to follow our journey as we learn more from these educated women. Our first article on opening up to opportunities was followed by a letter to a younger self and ended with finding a mentor for your self advancement. Please share thsi article and your comments below.

More importantly, we want you to know that there are many ways to get involved with WINGS for Growth. There are mentor roles available or you can explore the idea of becoming a mentee and benefiting from a mentor with us. In addition, you can champion a mentor mentee engagement or be a volunteer to really get to know who we are as an organization! Remember, it is never a bad time to learn something new!

Until next time,

Anita

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

My younger self reflection

Self Reflection – Advice For A Younger Self

Hello, welcome to the second of a three part series to bring you the voices of the millennial women of today! I will be sharing their perspectives on opportunities in the workplace, life lessons that I’m sure will resonate with several of you and their take on mentoring. This series was driven by the curiosity of thoughts I have shared below.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

In the game of life, we don’t have time to stop we have to keep pushing ourselves to improve. Growing in life does not come from complacency it comes from consistency and persistence. While young women in all fields have been known to push themselves, there happens to be the question, are they succeeding nearly as much as they could be? Are there acquirable tools to aid in the advancement of their careers?

In other words, is there something that these young women may be missing, such as opportunities or connections, that could boost their careers? I, Anita Chitnis, had the privilege of interviewing young millennial women from California to New York on behalf of WINGS for Growth. These women truly enrich as women who reside in different fields, different backgrounds, and different mindsets.

To protect our participants’ privacy, we have chosen to share only their last initial. We thank them deeply for sharing their voices with WINGS and hope other young women out there find this inspiring. These young women from completely different professions, performing arts, nursing and public health industries, had somewhat similar messages.


For this portion of the series I, on behalf of WINGS, decided to delve into self-reflection. These days the letter to your younger self is a very popular way of reflecting on one’s own action as seen in a variety of posts around the blog world. So, our participants get their two minutes talking to their mini version 10 years ago.

My younger self reflection

If there was a piece of advice you could give to your younger self to help her grow more, what would it be?

“Don’t worry so much about people’s perceptions about you, society will always be the way it is. You don’t have to fit in a mold, just focus on achieving personal success.” – Anjana S., Washington D.C.

“Pick something that you are really interested in now and work hard at it. If it blossoms into something and you can make a career out of that is okay but this is the time to see what you like and don’t like. Don’t shy away from opportunities because it may not work out!” – Laura P., New York City

“Put yourself out there and apply to different positions. Volunteer at small firms to gain experience while building yourself and don’t worry about making mistakes. Just going to one career fair and applying for one internship made me a much more confident person” – Seton K., Morristown

There was a theme that stood out among all, being authentic and true to yourself will enable you to pursue your dream and fulfill a purpose. As we grow, we think back to what demeanor we portrayed as our younger selves. I, personally, look back and wish I had done something different. While we all know hindsight is 20/20, any advice we would have given our younger selves, we can use to better ourselves in the future.  

To go on further about being authentic, recently, I read an interview with Sara Blakely, founder and creator of Spanx. She had said that people may not understand what you are doing and will always give you advice based on what they know in their own life to be true. She went on to explain how she was busy building a business empire for herself, not quite worried about starting a family yet that was the only advice she would receive from others. A few years later she has both, her business and a beautiful family. Being authentic and following your passions can lead to the best of opportunities.

We hope you enjoyed the second of the microblog series and continue to follow our journey as we learn more from these educated women. To see more articles like this please make sure to share your comments below. If you missed our first post in this series, you can find it here

More importantly, we want you to know that there are many ways to get involved with WINGS for Growth. There are mentor roles available or you can explore the idea of becoming a mentee and benefiting from a mentor with us. In addition, you can champion a mentor mentee engagement or be a volunteer to really get to know who we are as an organization! Remember, it is never a bad time to learn something new!

Until next time,

Anita

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

Be aware of opportunities

Opportunities and Awareness

Be aware of opportunities

Hello, welcome to the first of a three part series to bring you the voices of the millennial women of today! I will be sharing their perspectives on opportunities in the workplace, life lessons that I’m sure will resonate with several of you and their take on mentoring. This series was driven by the curiosity of thoughts I have shared below.

“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

In the game of life, we don’t have time to stop we have to keep pushing ourselves to improve. Growing in life does not come from complacency it comes from consistency and persistence. While young women in all fields have been known to push themselves, there happens to be the question, are they succeeding nearly as much as they could be? Are there acquirable tools to aide in the advancement of their careers? In other words, is there something that these young women may be missing, such as opportunities or connections, that could boost their careers?

I, Anita Chitnis, had the privilege of interviewing young millennial women from California to New York on behalf of WINGS for Growth. These women truly bring diverse perspectives as women who reside in different fields, different backgrounds, and different mindsets.

To protect our participants’ privacy, we have chosen to share only their last initial. We thank them deeply for sharing their voices with WINGS and hope other young women out there find this inspiring.


Are some young professional women missing out because they are unaware of opportunities that are there are for their taking?

“There is a certain formula we are conditioned to want to follow from a young age. Go to  college, find a job, find a boyfriend, start a family etc. Sometimes we may be so wrapped up in this formula we may not push ourselves but that is changing with millennials. This isn’t the case anymore, more women are pushing for professional goals every single day.” – Anjana S., D.C.

“Any limit that we perceive is a limit that we have created for ourselves. Sometimes women may over analyze a situation more than their male counterparts but pushing for opportunities and creating them for yourself is very important. Remember, there is no actual “box” to think outside  of, you have to create your own reality.” – Laura P., New York City

“Any barrier that I have ever felt has never really been because of my gender, race or anything physical. It often has been myself doubting my abilities and that is what others may feel as well. The more you push for something the more you are likely to get it. You have to create opportunities for yourself.” – Susie L., East Brunswick

We hope you enjoyed the first of the micro blog series and continue to follow our journey as we learn more from these dynamic women. if you would like to see more articles like this, please make sure to share your comments below. More importantly, we want you to know that there are many ways to get involved with WINGS for Growth. If you are a seasoned veteran in the industry, consider being a mentor to pay it forward or you can explore the idea of becoming a mentee and benefiting from the program. In addition, you can champion a mentor mentee engagement or be a volunteer to really get to know who we are as an organization! Remember, it is never a bad time to learn something new!

Until next time,

Anita

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

Spring is here – Time to start your professional rejuvenation!

Mentoring can provide much needed care for your professional garden

For months the cold barren fields have made being outside unbearable. Spring is nature’s way of saying it is ready to get down to business, it is the time to flourish. Birds are chirping, animals come out of hibernation, we clean our homes, and go outdoors to rejuvenate our souls. Similarly, in terms of career, we embark on rigorous paths and propel ourselves into more difficult challenges. These challenges can range from wanting to get more involved in your work environment and moving up the corporate ladder to beginning an entirely new career path.

For a professional women, spring can also be the season of cleansing the mind of old tactics and realizing the need for development. Planting seeds in the beginning of spring ensures that we have crops to consume in the coming months. Similarly, the small seeds of effort we put into leadership development and building our skill sets can mature into big initiatives. In order to grow to their full potential, these small seeds need to be nurtured, watered and given incubation. Let us say, as a young professional you have embarked on a journey toward the position you want. You are taking all the right steps in that direction but what if there was a way for you to achieve that goal in an efficient manner? Having access to an open environment, unbiased advice and a strong support system can enable a young woman such as yourself to rise to the top.

How to go about that change?

Finding a mentor who sees potential in you, is a positive way for a young woman to overcome obstacles in achieving her dreams. It is true that finding opportunities to gain practical exposure in areas of interest is tricky and at times inaccessible. Often, I hear the question, “who can benefit from mentors?” Generationally, millennials would benefit from mentoring because they have the passion to create value around them. While mentoring helps young professionals, there is still a general misunderstanding that mentors are only suited for those who have recently graduated and are struggling. The segment of young women who have worked for a few years and want to take charge of their upward career mobility also benefit from mentoring. Not every environment boasts initiatives to drive these women into the next phase of their career and their talent can simply be lost in a sea of mediocrity

Mentorship is a very powerful tool used to launch and advance careers and has been proven to help in all stages of professional development.

As a person wanting change, you need to own it, and drive it. Obtaining a mentor at this stage can help find purpose and make big positive life changes in order to be that fully rejuvenated x.0 version of yourself. Learning from others mistakes, obtaining guidance from industry professionals and propelling yourself forward professionally are just a few reasons that a mentor can be a great tool for a young woman in any stage of her career. As with warm weather and new beginnings, spring is a wonderful time for a professional woman to lay down the seeds for her career.

With the help of a mentor a woman can water and nurture the career plant and watch it grow into something incredible and, best of all, realize her own potential

We all have dreams waiting to be pursued why not get them out of our closets and give them life this spring?

As a nonprofit organization, WINGS for Growth provides a mentoring program on leadership development. At the end of this month our present cohort of mentees will begin their formal mentoring journey. We are incredibly proud of these young women who have taken their first step in taking charge of their professional development. If you need more information about this event, drop a line to [email protected] If you are looking to join WINGS as a mentee, click here

This blog article was contributed by Anita Chitnis an aspiring writer, blogger and a volunteer at WINGS.

Celebrating International Women’s Day!

WINGS Mentees strike a pose at our Orientation event!

From all of us here at WINGS for Growth, we would like to wish you happy International Women’s Day!
We admire and strive to mentor women to become strong leaders and have discovered that an outcome-based mentoring program, with a carefully tailored program and matched mentor to mentee, can make a huge and positive difference in attaining the mentee’s goals.
Here at WINGS, we are convinced that mentoring focused on leadership development is an opportunity that many early career women are looking for. There are many programs offered by employers to their employees. These programs are great in giving the visibility and exposure to move up the ladder. However, not all mentoring experiences amount the same. Some of them were weighed down with mentors who did not have time to spend with them.
In some instances, the mentees faced an endless loop of mentoring with no concrete goal in sight. In many cases, the mentoring was a spot treatment to solve a problem and the mentee and mentor often lost touch over time so that they couldn’t easily tap in to a comfort zone of teaming with each other when they needed to.
This is why WINGS chose to offer a formal outcomes based mentoring program. The mentors and mentees themselves are committed to the 10-month long program and are subjected to a rigorous 4-step selection process.

Our mentors are senior industry leaders who are truly paying-it-forward and passionately believe in our cause. Our mentees have taken the first bold step in recognizing the need to be mentored and are already on their path to success by their initiative.

WINGS’ proprietary methodology and framework guides our mentors and mentees them through the entire program. The mentors and mentees are paired manually, per the guidelines of our methodology. The first order of business is to devise a development plan for each mentee that the mentor approves with the oversight of a champion, then the mentor and mentee pair work on development areas.

The WINGS program offers connectivity events every quarter to ensure there is visibility among the established industry leaders, other cohort members and our sponsors. We also put together a curriculum of classroom training and executive coaching session in a group to promote interactive learning.

Each mentee is also given an opportunity to work on a project with partner nonprofit organization(preferably) to practice the skills that they learned, which enforces confidence in the ability to lead – a huge step forward.

They might get an opportunity to mentor a junior mentee from high school or middle school during this program.

After all, the success of our mentees is a true success for WINGS for Growth!

In this video, we bring inspiration shared by our mentees who have been through that self-reflection, recognize the need for growth, and share their opinion on why they joined WINGS. We hope you can feel their passion through this video.

On this day of celebrating women internationally, we urge you to reflect inwards and seek a mentor in your life, if you haven’t already. Make that bold step and commit to developing yourself. We would love to hear about your passion and growth areas and how a mentoring program can help you. Leave your thoughts, share the blog post, and show some love to our mentees for taking this step.

CALL TO ACTION: We invite every woman to celebrate herself, if you want to become a leader and be a better leader – Sign up for becoming a mentee with us!

As a male or a female industry professional who has seniority, support an early career woman – consider imparting your wisdom in others, Click Here to sign up!

To more women leaders and beyond!

-WINGS for Growth